Gospel of Mark Chapter Fifteen

15:1 Early in the morning the chief priests held an impromptu meeting with the elders, scribes and the entire council. They bound Jesus and took him away to be delivered to Pilate.
15:2 Then Pilate asked him, “Are you the leader1 of the Jews?” So he answered, “You say this.”
15:3 The chief priests then began accusing Jesus of many things.
15:4 Pilate kept questioning him and then he said, “Don’t you have an answer? Consider all the things they accused you of.
15:5 But Jesus made no further reply, which amazed Pilate.
15:6 Now usually for the Passover feast Pilate would release one prisoner at their choosing.
15:7 And there was a man named Barabbas who was arrested with the rioters that had committed murder during the riot.
15:8 And the crowd shouted that he should do as he usually does to them.
15:9 But Pilate replied, saying, “Don’t you want me to release the leader of the Jews to you?”
15:10 For he understood that the chief priests had arrested him because of enviousness.
15:11 But the chief priests encouraged the people to request he release Barabbas to them instead of Jesus.
15:12 Then Pilate responded saying once again, “What do you want me to do with the leader of the Jews then?”
15:13 And they shouted, “Crucify him!”
15:14 Then Pilate said to them, “Why? What wickedness has he done?” And they shouted louder, “Crucify him!”
15:15 So Pilate, wanting to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas to them. After having him flogged, he handed Jesus over to be crucified.
15:16 The soldiers led him off, into a palace courtyard called the Praetorium, and there they assembled a troop of soldiers.
15:17 Then they dressed him in a purple robe and wove together a wreath of thorns – and put this on his head.
15:18 They began to salute him, saying, “Hail, leader of the Jews!”
15:19 Repeatedly they beat him with a cane and spit on him and fell to their knees and paid obeisance to him.
15:20 After they mocked him they took off the purple robe and put on his own clothes and took him away to crucify him.
15:21 They forced a man named Simon – the father of Alexander and Rufus and a Cyrenian traveling abroad – to carry his stake.
15:22 They brought him to the place called Golgotha, which means ‘place of the skull.’
15:23 Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh but he refused it.
15:24 And they crucified him and divided up his garments among themselves, casting lots to decide who got what.
15:25 It was the third hour2 when they crucified him.
15:26 The accusation inscribed above him was, THE LEADER OF THE JEWS.
15:27 Crucified with him were two thieves – one on his right and one on his left.3
15:29 Those who passed by shouted abuses at him and shook their heads, saying, “Ah ha, you would destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days –
15:30 save yourself and come down off the stake!”
15:31 Similarly, the chief priests and the scribes also mocked him, saying among themselves, “He saved others but he can’t save himself:
15:32 Oh Anointed of God [Messiah, Christ], the leader of Israel, come down from the stake now so we may see and believe!” Those who were crucified with him also insulted him.
15:33 On the sixth hour,4 darkness descended over the entire region until the ninth hour.5
15:34 On the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “ELOI, ELOI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you left me alone?”6
15:35 When some of those standing by heard this, they said, “Look, he is calling for Elijah.”
15:36 Some rushed up and soaked a sponge in vinegar, put it on a cane and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Let’s see if Elijah will come to take him down.”
15:37 Then Jesus cried out loudly, and his spirit passed.7
15:38 The veil of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
15:39 When the centurion standing in front of him saw how his spirit passed away, he said, “Truly this man was the Representative of God.”
15:40 Some women looked on from a distance – including Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James the Lesser, Joseph and Salome.
15:41 When he was in Galilee, they had followed him and served him and there were many other women who traveled with him to Jerusalem.
15:42 Evening came, and it was preparation day – the day prior to the Sabbath.
15:43 Joseph of Arimathea arrived. He was a prominent council member who had accepted the sanctuary of God. He gathered his courage and approached Pilate; and requested the body of Jesus.
15:44 Pilate was surprised to learn he had passed away by then, and summoned the centurion and asked him whether he had already passed away.
15:45 After learning this from the centurion, he granted Joseph the body.
15:46 Joseph brought some linen cloth took his body down and wrapped it in the linen cloth. Then he laid his body in a tomb that had been cut out from the rock – and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.
15:47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph looked on in order to see where his body was laid.


1. Verse 15:2. The Greek word βασιλεύς (basileus) means, according to the lexicon, “leader of the people, prince, commander, lord of the land.” Pilate was a governor allegiant to Herod, who had already been given the title “King of the Jews” by the Roman Senate. Pilate would likely not be inclined to insinuate that Jesus could claim this title of “king” since the title was already granted and approved by Caeser. Jesus also was not a governor. Therefore, “leader” or even “spiritual leader” would be indicated, because such a reference would describe a leader within a certain religious faith.

2. Verse 15:25. The third hour is nine o’clock in the morning.

3. Verse 15:28 did not exist in early manuscripts – it was added later.

4. Verse 15:33. The sixth hour is twelve noon.

5. Verse 15:33. The ninth hour is three o’clock in the afternoon.

6. Verse 15:34. This statement references Psalm 22 by David. It portrays a transcendental mood of love for the Supreme Being called love in separation. Here is Psalm 22 (NIV) in its entirety:
My God, my God, why have You left me alone?
Why are You so far from saving me,
so far from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry out by day, but You do not answer,
by night, and am not silent.
Yet You are enthroned as the Holy One;
You are the praise of Israel.
In You our fathers put their trust;
they trusted and You delivered them.
They cried to You and were saved;
in You they trusted and were not disappointed.
But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by men and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads:
“He trusts in the LORD;
let the LORD rescue him.
Let Him deliver him,
since he delights in Him.”
Yet You brought me out of the womb;
You made me trust in You
even at my mother’s breast.
From birth I was cast upon You;
from my mother’s womb You have been my God.
Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.
Many bulls surround me;
strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
Roaring lions tearing their prey
open their mouths wide against me.
I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted away within me.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
You lay me in the dust of death.
Dogs have surrounded me;
a band of evil men has encircled me,
they have pierced my hands and my feet.
I can count all my bones;
people stare and gloat over me.
They divide my garments among them
and cast lots for my clothing.
But You, O LORD, be not far off;
O my Strength, come quickly to help me.
Deliver my life from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
I will declare Your Name to my brothers;
in the congregation I will praise You.
You who revere the LORD, praise Him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor Him!
Revere Him, all you descendants of Israel!
For He has not despised or disdained
the suffering of the afflicted one;
He has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.
From You comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who revere You will I fulfill my vows.
The poor will eat and be satisfied;
they who seek the LORD will praise Him—
may your hearts live forever!
All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations
will bow down before Him,
for dominion belongs to the LORD
and he rules over the nations.
All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before Him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
Posterity will serve Him;
future generations will be told about the LORD.
They will proclaim His righteousness
to a people yet unborn—
for He has done it.

7. Verse 15:37. The Greek word, ἐκπνέω (ekpneō) means, according to the lexicon, “to breathe out, breathe out one's life, breathe one’s last, expire.” What is being “breathed out,” according to ancient texts, is the soul or spirit – the person within. This has also been translated to “give up the ghost” in some texts. It is clear from this text that Jesus’ followers understood that Jesus’ body died at this moment and the soul or spirit-person of Jesus left his physical body at that time of death. The spirit-person or soul of Jesus left or passed from his temporary physical body.

Continue to Gospel of Mark Chapter Sixteen